The Blue Ridge Music Center sits at the epicenter of old-time and mountain music. Travelers can enjoy a variety of jam sessions in the surrounding area throughout the week.
Monday: Bluegrass and old time jam sessions are 20-year-old tradition at the Crouse House in Sparta, N.C. Music is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Monday night. Bluegrass moves outdoors in good weather. Admission is free; donations are accepted for utilities at the Crouse House, part of town-owned Crouse Park. Take N.C. 18 North from the Courthouse Square, take the second left onto Grayson Street. Take the first right on Cherry Street; Crouse House is on the right.
Tuesday: Bluegrass, old-time and country songs are among the sounds you'll hear at Stringbean coffee shop in downtown Galax on Tuesday nights. The place is big enough for three or four jams, which often spill out onto the street on hot summer nights. Dancers, musicians and audience members are welcomed in true Southwest Virginia style by owner Derrick Davis. Beverages and sandwich-style fare are available. Some of the action starts as early as 6:30; most of it is cranked up by 7 p.m. Stringbean is located at 215 S. Main in Galax. Phone 276-236-0567.
Wednesday: A jam that leans toward old-time starts at 6:30 p.m. at the 1908 Courthouse in the center of Independence, 15 minutes west of Galax. For the convenience of banjo players, the jam sticks to one key, rotating weekly among G and C (OK, that's two keys), D, and A. It is a round-robin format, where each player gets to pick a tune in turn. The jam moves outside to the gazebo in the summer. Visitors and visiting musicians are welcome. For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday: Come to the old mill town of Fries for a hot jam! After its home at the corner diner was damaged in a propane explosion, the jam has moved around town a bit. You'll find it either in a storefront on Main Street, at Big Daddy's Restaurant near the New River Trail State Park trailhead, or in the old Fries Theater. Just look for the all the cars. Fries isn't that big. The jam starts up at 7 and features an ecletic mix of bluegrass or old-time, depending on who shows up! From Galax, take Fries Road off U.S. 58 and follow it to Main Street.
Sunday: At the Floyd Country Store in downtown Floyd, Va., you'll find a jam from 2 to 5 p.m. every Sunday. Acoustic musicians of all levels are invited to come and play in an informal “round” style jam. All music lovers are invited to come and play or listen to an afternoon of impromptu live jams. The store offers soups, sandwiches and ice cream. For information, check: www.floydcountrystore.com/stage/sunday-jams